The recent cold snap hitting North America has made Niagara Falls into a icy fairyland.
Niagara Falls, one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the area, is actually a set of three waterfalls bridging Canada and the US. The American and Bridal Veil falls are on the American side of the river, separated from the larger Horseshoe Falls by an island in the middle. The triple falls, always popular as a tourist destination, have been transformed into a winter wonderland, as icy mist from the freezing falls coats the surrounding landscape.
2018 has been the coldest January 1st on record in the Niagara area, with temperatures dropping below -26 Celcius (-14.8 Fahrenheit). According to Global News meteorologist Ross Hull, “the normal overnight/morning low [for New Year’s] should be closer to -7 C,” Hull said. “The high temperature on New Year’s Eve was also well below average with a daytime high close to -15 C.”
But, despite the deep chill, the falls have not completely frozen over.
— Metro News Canada (@MetroNewsCanada) January 4, 2018
The water is too fast for that, with over 3,6100 tons of water flowing over the falls per second. Although the falls have appeared to be frozen over in previous years, there has still been water flowing under the icy “bridge.” The Falls have only truly stopped once, in March 1848, when ice clogged the river so badly that it couldn’t flow
In the late 1800’s, people used to walk over the frozen falls, and vendors even set up stands to serve food and alcohol out on the river. But on February 4th, 1912, the ice bridge connecting the two sides of the river broke up after a block of ice fell on it, with almost 40 people on the bridge.
Couple Eldridge and Clara Stanton were stranded and attempted rescuer Burrell Hecock became stranded with them. All three were swept over the falls. After the incident, people are no longer allowed to walk out over the river when it freezes.
The frozen-over falls are just one symptom of the cold front hitting North America in the past few weeks. On January 31st, temperatures in Hettinger, North Dakota dropped to -58 C, the coldest temperature recorded in the continental US this winter. The next day, more than ten cities had record-breaking cold temperatures for January 1st.
And, for the rest of this week, an area of quickly-declining pressure (also known as a “bombogenesis”) is expected to slam the Northeast with a “bomb cyclone” that could drop up to a foot of snow on New England.
Continuing with our Winter enjoyment, we went to Niagara Falls today. Due to the extreme cold, the ice formations were incredible! I think I prefer the beauty of the falls in the winter more than in the summer. Here are some of my favourite shots. . #niagarafalls #niagara #ontario #canada #hobbyphotographer #winter #ice #photography
And the extreme cold will also continue at Niagara Falls, with the Canadian government issuing an extreme cold warning across the entire region for temperatures dropping as low as -30 C (-22 F) with the windchill.
But for tourists undeterred by chilly temperatures or gusting winds, the falls will retain their wintery beauty.